Egypt arrests seven over Mansoura suicide bombing

CAIRO (REUTERS) - Seven people, including the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader, have been arrested in connection with a suicide bomb attack on a police station north of Cairo that killed 16 people last month, the interior minister said.

The army-backed government listed the group as a terrorist organisation after accusing it of carrying out the attack, one of the worst Egypt has faced since the army deposed Islamist Mohamed Mursi in July following protests against his rule.

The Brotherhood, which won five consecutive elections since the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, denies any link to violence. A Sinai-based militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the Dec 24 attack in Mansoura.

"Seven of the accused have been arrested, most prominent is Yehya Almongi Saad al-Huseini who is the son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader," Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told a news conference.

Since Mursi was deposed, security forces have launched a wide crackdown against his Muslim Brotherhood and arrested thousands of his supporters who accuse the army of staging a coup and demand his reinstatement.

Mr Ibrahim also accused the Muslim Brotherhood of opening up lines of communication with the Islamist group Hamas in neighbouring Gaza and receiving military training from them.

He accused Hamas of involvement in various attacks in Egypt in recent months, without giving details.

Hamas, founded in 1987, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A spokesman from Hamas, Mr Sami Abu Zuhri, denied the accusations and called it an "attempt to mislead the Egyptian public and export the internal Egyptian crisis".

Around 350 police and soldiers have been killed in bombings and shootings since Mursi was ousted.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.